Morgan Wootten

Morgan Wootten was the first modern era high school coach inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 46 years of coaching at DeMatha High School, his teams won 1,274 games and never had a losing season. His players went on to become college, NBA, and Olympic champions. He was one of the founding fathers of the McDonald’s All American Games, and he started the first day camp in basketball. With a mantra of God, Family, School, and then Basketball, Morgan turned his players into stars in both the game of basketball and the game of life.

Career Records

  • Career record of 1,274 wins – 192 losses in 46 years of coaching, making his winning percentage .869 %.
  • With DeMatha’s win on January 15, 2000, Wootten became the first basketball coach at any level – high school, college or pro – to reach 1,200 wins.
  • Five national high school championships, the last in 1983-1984.
  • DeMatha won 33 conference championships with Wootten as the coach.
  • The 1965 DeMatha team broke the 71-game winning streak of Lew Alcindor’s (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) Power Memorial Academy (New York) team.
  • Coached DeMatha to No. 1 ranking in the Washington, D.C. area 22 of his 46 years.


  • First modern era high school coach to be enshrined in Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (October 13, 2000)
  • Named “The Greatest High School Coach of the 20th Century” by the Naismith Foundation (1999)
  • John W. Bunn Award of Naismith Hall of Fame for contributions to basketball (1991)
  • First recipient of Walt Disney Award presented to the top sports coach in all sports in America (1991)
  • Selected by ESPN/ABC as one of the “Top Coaches of the 20th Century”
  • “Washingtonian of the Year” (1976)
  • USA Today “National Coach of the Year” (1984)
  • Charter member, Washington, D.C. Basketball Hall of Fame (1990)
  • Named “11th Greatest Coach of All Time” in any sport at any level by the website Bleacher Report (2012)
  • Awarded Joe Lapchick Character Award in New York for outstanding moral attributes (2013)

Of Interest

  • One of the founders of the McDonald’s All American Games, and head of the selection committee since it’s inception.
  • The annual McDonald’s All American Game player of the year award is called the “Morgan Wootten Award.”
  • The annual Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Award for the best high school men and women’s coach is named the “Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award.”
  • Morgan’s players helped invent the charge, which lead to 4 distinctive rule changes – The Charge, The Offensive Foul, 1 and 1 free throws and shooting free throws after five fouls.
  • Morgan is the only high school basketball coach to have two former players – Adrian Dantley and Kenny Carr – on the same U.S. Olympic Team.
  • Morgan is the producer of several instructional videos including “Morgan Wootten on Basketball,” “Teaching Basketball – Volumes 1 and 2,” “Coaching Basketball – The Wootten Way,” and “The Championship Edge.”
  • Morgan is the author of five books including “A Coach For All Seasons,” “From Orphans to Champions,” and “Coaching Basketball Successfully.”
  • Morgan’s 1965 team that defeated Lew Alcindor’s NYC Power Memorial team is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • For twenty straight years each of Morgan’s seniors received a college scholarship.
  • Over 200 of Morgan’s players went on to play at the college level and over 20 players played professionally.
  • For 16 straight years a DeMatha player played for Harvard with five Harvard Captains.
  • Morgan’s guards Dereck Whittenburg and Sidney Lowe are the only two guards to win a national championship at the high school and collegiate level together.
  • As of 2017, Morgan has 15 proteges working as head or assistant coaches in college basketball.
  • In the early 1960s, Morgan and Joe Gallagher started the first summer basketball camp for children.